The use of Moses traditions in the Gospel of John : a contribution to John's use of the Old Testament
This thesis investigates the ways in which Moses traditions are used in the Gospel of John. The term "Moses traditions" is meant to refer to the stories connected with the person of Moses in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Later developments of these traditions are taken into account, if they are relevant to John's use of Moses traditions. The study addresses three areas of concern: First, the literary context and narrative significance of each instance of a use of a Moses tradition in John's Gospel is investigated. Secondly, the probability of the suggested links to the Old Testament Vorlagen is assessed. It is argued that in many cases the identification of a suggested link cannot be strictly separated from the interpretation of the link. Thirdly, the theological significance of each suggested link is presented. It is argued that the most significant theological inference from the use of Moses traditions in John is the sociological function of the christological use of Moses traditions. Although Moses traditions are used to illuminate the person of Jesus, the function of that use is time and again to define the identity of Christian believers in relation to mainstream Judaism. The introductory chapter presents a short survey of scholarly work on John's use of the OT. It also tackles the details involved in detecting and interpreting OT allusions in a NT text. Finally, it discusses the explicit use of the name "Moses" in John's Gospel and establishes the thesis of the sociological function of the use of Moses traditions. Chapter Two discusses the use of Sinai traditions in John 1 and 2. It is argued that Ex 33-34 provides the crucial OT background to Jn 1: 14-18, and that Ex 19-24 illuminates several details of John 1: 19-2: 11. Chapter Three follows the use of Passover traditions throughout the whole Gospel. It is argued that Passover traditions serve mainly to illuminate aspects of Jesus' death. Chapter Four presents the use of wilderness traditions in John 3 and 6-8. A multifaceted picture emerges that includes a variety of ways in which wilderness traditions are evoked. Also, an excursus is added that discusses the question of how John's use of the OT affects the theological value of the OT revelation. Chapter Five tackles several instances in which the prophet like Moses is evoked or in which Moses and Jesus are compared as persons. Chapter Six summarizes the main results of the study.